With the recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a police officer, the Milwaukee Bucks made an unprecedented decision to boycott their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday afternoon, which would have been an opportunity for them to close out the series in Game 5.
The Bucks have since been joined by the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. Like the Bucks, the Lakers were in position to close out their first-round series as well.
NBA players, coaches and staff members have made it clear since they agreed to come to the bubble in Orlando that they want the focus to remain on social justice reform, and the players made a loud statement that they don’t feel that is the case in deciding to walk off the court and not play a postseason game.
This is something that obviously has never happened in NBA history, but could be what is needed to spark the change that these players have been urging for since George Floyd was killed in a similar incident with a police officer earlier this year.
Chris Paul is the head of the NBA Players Association and has been as vocal as anybody on social issues this year.
Where the Lakers and the NBA go from here remains to be seen, although the players’ statement that there are more important issues than basketball to address right now is loud and clear.
Lakers star LeBron James has also been very outspoken on social justice issues, notably creating a voting initiative to help people get out to the polls this November. There is no doubt he will continue to be outspoken in these issues whether play resumes or not.
Kyle Kuzma has been among the players to voice his frustration with a lack of action. Though, he recently said he felt players were successfully getting their messages across.
“But this is the biggest thing we’re dealing with right now. Everybody thinks it’s our jobs to use our platform,” Kuzma said.
“We can only do so much, because, yeah you hear us talk every day about it, you hear us trying to make change, but it’s up to the local officials, state officials and federal officials in these collective states and our country, to make the right decisions and make right justice. Honestly, it’s disheartening and disgusting to talk about. Every time you go on social media or go on Twitter, you see somebody dying. That’s [expletive].
“I get ramped up talking about it, but we need to have more accountability from the police departments for training guys to police the right way, we need to put that accountability on local and state officials to make the right decisions. We’re tired of it.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!